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Destigmatizing De Anza: A high schooler’s perspective

Rachel Shin, Staff Reporter

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Rachel Shin

For the past few months, I watched seniors proudly call themselves “second semester seniors.” Within the next few months, I will see their Facebook profiles glow with their next home.

I go to a local, competitive high school  full of what we call “Ivy League Magnets.” These students are usually the same people: coders, app creators, medical contributors, and star athletes. For someone like me, who is none of these, giving in to the pressure of our unspoken “rule” is inevitable.

This rule is a stigma that does not seem to give in to reality. After hearing about all the UC and Ivy League acceptances, many students on our campus naturally adopt the idea that community college is a last resort and an unacceptable option. And, within that tense air, there is no room for a student to unapologetically admit that they should go to De Anza. Yet, 30 percent of our school’s graduating seniors go on to attend community college, usually De Anza.

Seniors give in to the pressure, spending hundreds or even thousands on applications to outside universities, knowing full well that they are not mentally prepared for the challenges. Although college career centers like the one at my school provide resources, they do not go out of their way to encourage community college attendance.

As a junior in high school and a concurrent enrollment student, I get to experience both sides of the spectrum. I’ll be honest. I disliked the idea of having to take classes at De Anza; I feared people would unconditionally label me.

However, my original misconceptions crumbled when I took my first De Anza course. The sheer depth of knowledge and array of choices quickly took precedence over my desire to pad my college apps.

De Anza, the go-to community colleges for the area, is actually an amazing, cheap source of education. Throughout my past three terms here, classes at De Anza have allowed me to explore my own fields of interests while also alleviating the intense STEM-heavy environment at my high school.

There’s a stigma that community colleges are schools for failures. They’re considered death knells for your future, or an identifier that you are incapable.

As a concurrent enrollment student who bounces between De Anza and high school, I can confidently say that De Anza has challenged my previous lack of experience, and I would encourage my fellow high schoolers to highly consider the prospects of attending community college.

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